The President's Corner
This month I return to my long-running series on Parma Places of Worship by spotlighting St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church located at 7700 Hoertz Road. To prepare for this piece I had the honor of meeting with Pastor, Rev. Ihor Kasiyan and Church Secretary, Anna Lukasik.
Fr. Ihor has a fascinating story, as he grew up in Ukraine. “God called me to the priesthood after the fall of communism,” he explained. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which had operated underground for decades, was now permitted to operate legally. As a result, Fr. Ihor entered the seminary in 1990 and was ordained in 1992. In fact, he recently celebrated his 25th anniversary of his holy ordination. He served as a priest in his home country for 10 years, then was called by the bishop of the St. Josaphat Eparchy of Parma to serve at St. Andrew. Fr. Ihor is married to Tetyana and the two have two sons and a daughter. The family became naturalized U.S. citizens about five years ago.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church follows the Byzantine Rite, meaning, although they follow the Pope in Rome, they have many traditions of the Eastern Church, including making the sign of the cross from right-to-left, no kneeling during services, the use of iconography, rather than statues, priests may marry, no use of musical instruments during services, etc. Christmas is celebrated at the same time as the Roman Catholic Church and Roman Catholics and Ukrainian Catholic parishioners may attend one another’s services and receive Holy Communion.
St. Andrew is one of many parishes within the St. Josaphat Eparchy (on State Road) in Parma. The St. Josaphat eparchy includes several states, including Ohio, part of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.
The mother church to the local Ukrainian Catholics is Sts. Peter and Paul in the Cleveland Tremont neighborhood. As many will recognize from my previous articles, as Parma grew, so did its churches. St. Andrew followed in this vein. In fact, in 1935 several Ukrainian families purchased property from Mr. Hoertz, himself, then sold it to the Eparchy. Soon, a cemetery and picnic area were developed. Later, in 1964, it was decided that a new church was in order and on Sunday, May 28, 1967, the church was dedicated. In fact, St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
St. Andrew is a very active and vibrant Parish. For instance, they will be hosting Lenten Fish Fries on February 16 and 23, as well as March 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 5:00 pm until 7:30 pm. What could be better than their homemade pierogis, made by their very own pierogi group? They are also serving, baked fish, fried fish, shrimp, cabbage and noodles, potato pancakes, great bakery items, and more. Carry out is available. Further, the pierogi group sells several varieties of fresh pierogis every Friday throughout the year from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the hall behind the church.
This coming Labor Day weekend, September 1 and 2, St. Andrew will hold their annual Ukrainian Festival. Having attended myself, I can attest that it is a fun-filled cultural extravaganza, with great people, food and fun activities. The parish also rents their two halls, one of which holds up to 250 people, 100 in the other.
Fr Ihor shared that the Parish hosts about 250 families. In fact, as I perused several recent bulletins I came across some well-known Parma names, including the Boyko Family. Many will remember the Honorable Andrew Boyko who served the city of Parma for over 30 years as our Law Director and Judge and in many other capacities. His lovely wife, Eva, continues to call St. Andrew her home parish and Parma her home.
To find out more about St. Andrew visit their website at www.standrewucc.org or call 440-843-9149. Next month I have huge announcement about a project I have been working on for months. I cannot wait to let you know about it, as I know it is going to be exciting for our community! So, stay tuned to the Parma Observer!
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan